In Jest

Humor at Work

August 2008


No doubt you're hearing it here first. A new blog now exists. Yes, the world really does need another blogger, particularly if it involves humor in the workplace. No longer do you have to wait for a monthly change---you can get an almost instant dose of humor at our new blog---right now in fact. It is available at:

(for example)OIL CHANGE Coming

To all employees:

Before we announce a forthcoming major change we want to review with you some characteristic ways people in our organization have responded to change in the past. Consider if you have been fighting change in one of the following ways:

We thought it wise to have you review these before the next change so that you can eliminate these from your thinking. And now to the change:

Effective July 1st all plastic knifes, forks, spoons, plates, and cups will be eliminated in all company eating areas. They will be replaced by normal cutlery and china.

This will be a major effort in our energy program, i.e. eliminating products made with oil.

Who do you know in high places?

Here are responses from participants in our humor workshop:

The Caregiver's Story

Cheryl gives us a unique story about the value of humor:

"Humor has always been a factor in my life. I try to take life with a grain of salt, never too seriously. I see humor in the little things in life. I am often amused by real life situations. In fact I have been asked on several occasions: 'What are you giggling about?' It could be about a small child not being able to reach something he wants and doing anything to reach it, even spilling everything on the shelf. Humor has often helped me to overcome stress and give me a perspective on a difficult situation.

I work as a caregiver and it can be disgusting, trying, and a stressful job at times. My sense of humor has gotten me through many a day. I know that one of these days, all too soon, I will be old too and need help--help with everything from buying groceries, getting medications, going to the doctors, cleaning house or taking a shower.

There's nothing like giving an old lady a shower and having her look up and asking, 'Are they catching up with my waist yet.' I asked what she was talking about and she said she was concerned that her breasts were sagging to the level of her waist. It almost floored me. We both laughed for the rest of the shower and well into dressing. You know what is best though? I am her favorite caregiver. I attribute that directly to my ability to make her laugh and laugh with her.

I worked with a woman, just before Christmas last year, who was terminally ill. She was in fairly good condition when I started working with her but deteriorated quickly. She was lonely and wanted company. When someone would show up to visit they were very somber. It made her feel worse. I think I really brightened her last days. I wasn't afraid to joke with her and make light of certain subjects. I think it nearly broke her heart, those last few days when everyone who came to say their last goodbyes were crying. She wanted support and comfort but all she got was sadness. I was glad to be her one bright spot, and with the knowledge that I helped her passing.

What If?

Just suppose the following was the case:


John Maxwell, author of the 360 Leader, tells this story:

"I love the story of Karl who enjoyed a good laugh at his office after he attached a small sign to his door which read: "I'm the Boss."

The laughter was even louder when he returned from lunch and saw that someone had made an addition to his sign. Next to it was a yellow Post-it note on which someone had scribbled: "Your wife called and said she wants her sign back."


As soon as you're through reading this I want you to go out and look for funny stuff within 100 feet of your desk. Look at bulletin boards. Look for signs that could be misread or misunderstood. Misunderstand them.

You have our permission to put in your favorites file.

and for those persons who are humor deficient send your copy of Laughing Nine to Five to your mortgage lender to show that you have no hard feelings about your mortgage which is under water.

...and one final thought: go to school and take a credit distant learning class called Humor in the Workplace at Portland (OR) Community College.

...but if your supervisor is nervous about approving payment for such a course, tell him there is a course called Humanizing the Workplace. (It's the same course but that can be our little secret.) It is offered at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington (across the Columbia river.) (


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Last updated:July 18, 2008